WOW mascot encourages Barking & Dagenham pupils as they embark on healthy travel challenge

As we enter 2023, many people will be setting their New Year’s resolutions. For Barking & Dagenham school pupils, they’ll be encouraging their parents and carers to swap the car for the cycle, scooter or a walk – thanks to a recent school assembly visit by Strider, the WOW Walk to School Challenge mascot.

An initiative by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, WOW encourages pupils and parents to take part in healthier school commutes by making it easier and safer for pupils and parents to ditch the car as part of their school commute.

Be First, the independent urban regeneration company wholly owned by Barking and Dagenham Council, is working with schools within the borough through the company’s Active Travel programme to get more school children involved in the WOW initiative.

Martin Nicholson, Headteacher at Grafton Primary School:
“Embarking on the WOW walk to school challenge has been fantastic for our pupils and our school. Walking, cycling, or scooting to school are great ways of helping our children feel happier and healthier. Our pupils are arriving to school more refreshed and ready to learn – there’s been a noticeable difference in their concentration levels.”

Cllr Elizabeth Kangethe, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment & School Improvement at Barking & Dagenham Council, said:
“The WOW walk to school challenge is important on several levels for London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. From a student wellbeing perspective, it promotes mental and physical health. In terms of what it means for the borough, one in four cars on the road each morning in the UK is on the school run, so having fewer cars on the roads improves road safety around our schools, as well as reducing vehicle emissions in the area.

“We’re proud to work with Living Streets on WOW and to continue our school active travel programme to deliver a safer and healthier Barking and Dagenham.”

Stephen Edwards, CEO of Living Streets, said:
“It’s fantastic to join Grafton School pupils to celebrate the work they are doing to get more active on the journey to school.

“Our WOW schools typically see a 23 per cent increase in walk to school rates and a 30 per cent reduction in cars at the school gates, helping to reduce congestion, air pollution and childhood inactivity. It’s great to be working with the council to bring WOW and its benefits to more schools across the borough.”